From Russia with Love

Plekhanov Russian University of Economics Winter University 2018 

University of Tomorrow:  Innovative Pedagogy and Methodology



by Jasmin B. Cowin, Ed.D., Associate Professor of TESOL and Bilingual Studies
Graduate School of Education, Touro College, NY


It was a distinct honor to be the keynote speaker and workshop facilitator for the XIX Winter School, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics in Moscow. Thematically, Plekhanov’s Winter University focused on “Current Global  Trends in Teaching English.” The Head of the Foreign Languages Department, Irina Ekareva, Ph.D.,  Associate Professor, a highly regarded scholar of historical sciences, founded the yearly conference in the spirit of the importance of lifelong learning.  Collectively, the department instructors passed international professional exams and participate on a regular basis in international conferences and grants. The Foreign Languages Department is actively introducing and using the latest interactive technologies in teaching foreign languages through meetings and hiring international specialists for workshops and conference presentations.




Prof. Ekareva’s overarching conference theme was on the urgency to adapt to a rapidly irina picchanging world while creating agile mindsets in students and facilitators. She opened the conference with her observations on the acceleration of change domestically and globally. Her remarks crystallize a common global theme on the far-reaching disruptors within the education landscape and the dynamic developments in regards to career pathways for the iGen and Gen Alpha generations. Both Generation Alpha and iGen are the first smartphone generations in our history to be immersed from birth in the super-connected social networking and gaming landscape.

The daily workshops designed and facilitated by Prof. Dr. Cowin were: Current Global Trends in Teaching English; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English – Methodology; E-learning & Micro-Methodology in Teaching English; and E-Resources Discovery and Analysis. As a final project, participants submitted online learning modules for their EFL courses focused on content-based instruction while incorporating the flipped classroom model.

20180115_131540While designing the workshops, it became clear that many of the communicative activities and teaching approaches would require participants to step outside their comfort zone. Over the course of five days, the workshop attendees were challenged to incorporate new teaching approaches based on communicative, student-centered components and activities. Through using Harkness method strategies which encourage open classroom dialogue, the workshops were transformed into “Think Tanks” emphasizing a nurturing environment. This anxiety-free, collaborative approach supported risk-taking, opening up within the group, and personal initiation of hands-on activities and projects.

Upon reflection, the four C’s: communication, cooperation, creativity and critical thinking are culturally transferable and as relevant as ever in engaging teachers and students to become agile thinkers, leveraging learning for continuous improvement.

Author: drcowinj

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today,” determined Malcolm X at the O.A.A.U.’s [Organization of Afro-American Unity] founding forum at the Audubon Ballroom. (June 28, 1964). (X, n.d.) Dr. Jasmin Bey Cowin a Fulbright Scholar, SIT Graduate, completed the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP™) at Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. Cowin served as the President of the Rotary Club of New York and Assistant Governor for New York State; long-term Chair of the Rotary United Nations International Breakfast meetings; and works as an Assistant Professor at Touro College, Graduate School of Education. Dr. Cowin has over twenty-five years of experience as an educator, tech innovator, entrepreneur, and institutional leader with a focus on equity and access to digital literacy and education in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Her extensive background in education, administration, not-for-profit leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and technology innovation provide her with unique skills and vertical networks locally and globally. Dr. Cowin participates fully in the larger world of TESOL academic discipline as elected Vice President and Chair-Elect for the New York State, NYS TESOL organization, for the 2021 conference. Ongoing research, expressed in scholarly contributions to the advancement of knowledge is demonstrated through publications, presentations, and participation in academic conferences, blogging, and other scholarly activities, including public performances and exhibitions at conferences and workshops. Of particular interest to her are The Blockchain of Things and its implications for Higher Education; Current Global Trends in TESOL; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English; E-learning; Micro and Macro-Methodologies in TESOL; E-Resources Discovery and Analysis; and Language Acquisition and the Oculus Rift in VR.

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